On-Demand Video: Organist Cameron Carpenter

Live in The Greene Space

Monday, April 02, 2012

On Friday, April 20 at 7 pm, composer-organist and YouTube sensation Cameron Carpenter joined host Terrance McKnight for a kaleidoscopic tour through the organ repertoire, from legendary works by Johann Sebastian Bach to reworkings of Charles Ives and Percy Grainger to Carpenter's original compositions and arrangements of singer-songwriters Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright. 

In his exclusive New York recital this season, Carpenter provides a high-octane embarrassment of riches, all performed on a new cutting-edge digital organ by a commanding musician dubbed a "force of nature" by Alex Ross of The New Yorker and an "ambitious radical who plays with unrelenting scope, vigor and imagination" by The Advocate.

A highlights video from The Greene Space is below, followed by the archival video of the event.

Hosted by:

Terrance McKnight


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Comments [25]

Richard Litzinger from Connecticut

I have listened to every youtube video of Cameron Carpenter, as well as both of his cd/dvd's. While his is unconventional (not a bad thing at all), his technical skills are bedazzling. I have played organ for years, both pipe and electronic, and I believe a fine digital instrument with a great sound system is most worthy in the world of the organ. To be such a 'revolutionary' or iconoclast, as CC is, is his affair. People are listening to him, and they like what they hear, for the most part. If he can bring ORGAN to the attention of music lovers (and perhaps recruit some of non-music lovers), he will be doing a great thing. I still would like to know what J.S. Bach or Max Reger would think of his playing. I look forward to being at Lincoln Center on March 9th for the entire debut program of his touring organ.

Feb. 09 2014 05:01 AM
Marilyn Adkins from Columbus, Ohio

We traveled to see Cameron at NJPAC on 4/29/2012 and it was so worth the trip. The small amount of crackling from the organ was not obtrusive to the concert at all. I can't imagine what it would be like to have his tremendous amount of talent. He very graciously autographed the CD's purchased and waited very patiently in the lobby to greet everyone after the concer. I hope to be able to attend another one of his performances.

May. 23 2012 12:31 AM
Ken K from New York


I was there and whilst i listened for the defect in the organ, it only came out three times, when Cameron pushed the instrument. Other than that, Man and Machine were flawless.

I would rather hear him on an imperfect organ than someone else on a perfectly functioning one.


May. 02 2012 10:47 PM
Virgil from NJ

Did anyone see Cameron last night in Newark?

His digital organ was broken. He had to change the program because there was this loud crackling sound coming from the organ when he tried playing it really loud.

An announcement was made right before the concert began that Cameron was having technical difficulties with the organ that we might hear some crackling sounds and that the program was changed a bit.

Apr. 30 2012 03:24 PM
beth from UWS

do your thing, Cameron.
If you don't like it, don't listen.
Music is meant to evolve, and if he's shaking things up, good for him.

Apr. 24 2012 08:27 PM
Queen Organist I from NYC

Cameron Carpenter is a "revolutionary" organist that is coming into his own. Yes, purists may bash the guy for not sticking to pipe organs, but didn't Virgil [Fox] do that in the late 60's and well into the 70's?? Look where it got him...popularity beyond belief! Even in post mortem Virgil is still popular. Cameron is the same way! He is the Virgil of the 21st century! Kudos to Cameron!! If he wants to play to the masses... Let him play to the masses!! The guy is fantastic!

Apr. 21 2012 09:45 AM
Ryan from Michigan


What you fail to realize (as someone else pointed out) Virgil Fox playing an electronic organ. Prior to Allen in 1971, his played an ANALOG organ!

As for the your lifespan comment, just like pipe organs, care and maintenance (although *occasional* with digital organs) is needed. While it is true that there are pipe organs that have lasted a few hundred years, I'm sure some pipes have been replaced, possibly a few times. I know of a few churches who still have Allen and Rodgers instruments from the 1960s that are still in pristine condition. It's all in how you care for it.

While most of Diane Bish's recordings are on pipe organs, she does play digitals as well. She has three Allen Organ models under her name.

Apr. 20 2012 08:42 PM
RJMB from Northern NJ

Great Performance - Great Dialogue - Great production from Q2.
Looking forward to next week at NJPAC.
Thank You,

Apr. 20 2012 08:31 PM
Ralph Cullen from New Zealand

You folks must be lucky.. All the links says is "server not found" here. What gives???

Apr. 20 2012 07:58 PM
Paul Epstein from Lower Manhattan

Cameron is mixing up New Hampshire with Massachusetts. He mentioned that Ives' Concord Sonata refers to Concord, New Hampshire. Actually, Ives was referring to Concord, Massachusetts, where the Alcotts were from, as well as Emerson and other transcendentalists that influenced Ives.

Apr. 20 2012 07:25 PM
ListeningInATL from Atlanta, GA

Are they pulling the audio straight out of the organ or something? It sounds horribly fake...not like a good digital mic'd from out in the room.

Apr. 20 2012 07:15 PM
David from Los Angeles

Oh, Dan from Demarest:
We have organs (Digital and Analog) by several manufacturers in the greater Los Angeles area that are more than forty years old and still giving great service. The ten year comment is simply not true. Your views are truly slanted.
Los Angeles

Apr. 20 2012 06:18 PM
organiac from Germany

Dear Dan from NJ and Jonn from Delaware,

I'm sorry to have to state this, but I've rarely found so many false statements in a single post. Here are just a few of them:

- Cameron doesn't damage anything, he elevates the organ to a new platform and level by going beyond previous limits. What can be wrong if someone exites more people about the organ and organ music, more than anyone else ever did before ?
- A digital organ IS an organ - it's just not a pipe organ. How would you call a digital piano, an instrument that is widely used even in music schools and conservatories? A digital... what? And, BTW, a digital organ lasts WAY longer than 10 years (sorry to correct you).
- Jonn: Didn't you know that pipe organs were made to play secular music over quite some centuries - not church music or dedicated organ literature? Forgot the history...? And who has the right to determine which music has to be played on which instrument? No Jazz on pianos, no folk music on guitars...?

Apr. 20 2012 05:57 PM
Michael from Rutherford NJ

Now that we are focusing on the organ I want to point out an organ player as well as a excellent piano player by the name of Keith Emerson. I am somewhat surprised that he does not get the attention he deserves in American classical circles. Unfortunately his music is available only in Europe or at his web site. People should pay attention at someone I believe to be one of the most gifted keyboardists of my generation

Apr. 19 2012 10:21 AM
RJMB from Northern NJ

FYI - He will be performing at NJPAC April 29th 2012 - I have attended many organ performances at many Church's in NY NJ - I happen to appreciate the different style Mr Carpenter presents on both the traditional pipe organ and his new digital instrument.

Apr. 18 2012 04:48 PM

The performance should last a shade over 1 hour. Hope you enjoy!

Apr. 10 2012 11:27 AM
eric from NYC

Does anyone know how long this performance will last?

Apr. 09 2012 03:36 PM
Bob G from NYC

Referring to Dan's comments on Cameron,you fail to realize that Virgil Fox used an electronic organ when he went on the road and I have heard as well as miss Virgil very much.I have met Cameron twice and refer to him as the "New" Virgil Fox.I know quite a few organist in NY and not one has complained about him.They more or less think he's not human as his technique is sheer brilliance.

Apr. 07 2012 01:42 PM

Dan from Demarest, you have never said whether you are an organist yourself. If not, who are you to degrade one. If so, you are obviously a "die hard" traditionalist with the organ, and that's a shame. Open your mind a little and learn to enjoy new thoughts and ideas.

Apr. 04 2012 03:00 PM
Jocelyn from Colorado Springs, CO

As a dyed-in-the-wool church organist who plays at two different churches in my community and is a pipe organ lover to boot, I want to step right up here to say that Cameron is a once-in-a-lifetime, God-given talent that most organists (including those who are so obviously deeply jealous) are deeply inspired by and incredibly proud to call one of our own, if only in some small way. You sure always have some bad apples in the barrel who love to come forward and try to knock him down, but after all their words, you have his music.

Just for once, I'd love to hear anybody who writes negative comments on him take on Cameron in a debate live. Have you ever heard even five minutes of one of his interviews? For example watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svOKPCxOrxM&feature=related

I'd love to see anybody go up against THAT. I wouldn't be the first.

Apr. 03 2012 01:10 PM
John from Los Angeles

I'm not an organist, but I love music and I try to support it. I find it "OUTRAGEOUS", to quote Dan from Demarest, that there are people (obviously organists) denigrating Cameron on these comments.

I live in LA and go to Disney Hall a lot. From time to time they have organists. Not gonna lie: they more or less all sound and look the same. They play organ pieces, which are probably interesting for organists, but which usually leave me cold or sort of exhausted (need to know lots of information to appreciate, need to listen to atonality, whatever). Then Cameron comes along and he ends his concert with MAHLER 5. From memory. The whole concert was played by heart! And he doesn't give you the feeling that if you bumped into him, he'd shatter and break, unlike a lot of stuffy organists who are so stiff you wonder what decade they think they're living in.

Cameron Carpenter is a genius, and if you're too stiff and stuck-up to appreciate it, then so much the better for the rest of us.

Apr. 03 2012 11:48 AM
Jonn from Wilmington, Delaware.

Well, as I've commented on many of the YouTube videos of Carpenter, his playing is just dreadful. He, it can be heard, has no concept of historical fingering or appropriate pedal practice, rather is just romping up and down the organ. I also agree that he is terrible for the pipe organ and the idea that he prefers digital organs, rather than great pipe organs, is just terrible. Also, he plays secular music on the organ, which is not the true intention for the instrument.

I go to many organ recitals and many, many times I have been shocked and dismayed to see performers like Cherry Rhodes, John Weaver, Stephen Tharp who are great and honorable players getting audiences of 100. Then you go to see Cameron Carpenter and you cannot get a seat, like at Princeton chapel last year. This is so shameful for those very neglected talents who should be getting the attention.

Apr. 03 2012 06:58 AM
Roger from New Jersey

Cameron Carpenter is inspirational. I have been organist for over 40 years and appreciate the breath of fresh air that Carpenter has brought to organ music. Watching his pedal technique has inspired me to work on mine. The purists will always be offended by anything new. I love the pipe organ however I also like new ideas, new approaches ,new techniques. If he excites young people to become interested in the pipe organ more power to him and more power to what we do.

Apr. 02 2012 08:46 PM
Paul Chappel from Dundas Ontario

My goodness, Sir from NJ. that seems a little harsh. Mr Carpenter has brought, as you say, huge audiences to the organ that wouldn't otherwise have been there. As an organ teacher, I can tell you that my students have been inspired, uplifted, and challenged by his virtuosity and musicality.

Why must we so often deride the new in the organ world, I've done it myself, I'll admit. Sniff at this or that.

All I can think is that whatever kind of instrument he is playing there are thousands of people who would walk over broken glass to hear Cameron play whereas, let us be honest, most people would barely walk across the street to hear the rest of us.

Apr. 02 2012 06:46 PM
Dan from Demarest NJ

it is OUTRAGEOUS that Cameron Carpenter gets so much attention. He is doing everything he can to damage the pipe organ and to ridiculle and belittle the great tradition of the organ. HE DOES NOT RESPECT organists, the organ, the tradition or the music. He should not be given the attention and the platform to spread his harmful message of the digital organ which is only a substitute for the pipe organ NOT a real instrument and only will last ten years or so not 100's like the pipe organ. Just the fact that he gets huge audiences and has a big reputation is NOT a reason to pay attention to an artist. Also he has the most powerful management in the world, it's NOT because hes a great artist...

Apr. 02 2012 05:18 PM

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